Base Realignment and Closure Commission is a body that applies a process to determine what military facilities need to stay open or be closed. The decisions affect military men and women as closures often re-shuffle soldiers from one area to another.
President Barack Obama told voters during various campaign stops in Virginia last summer,
You know, I don’t think now is the time for BRAC
. We just went through some base closings, and the strategy that we have does not call for that.
However, this week Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel submitted the new 2014 defense budget,
which, according to the Washington Times
, explicitly calls for shutting down various facilities using the BRAC. According to the Pentagon, BRAC is the only way of achieving what they call "infrastructure consolidation." The actual closing of bases would not start until after 2016, until after the economy "is projected to have more fully recovered," said Pentagon officials.
However, despite telling voters across Virginia (and other states heavily populated with military installations) there wouldn't be closures, Obama's 2013 budget rolled out last year did call for a new BRAC. In winter 2012, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified to Congress the military desperately needed to close what they called excess properties.
The 2014 budget and BRAC proposal did not specifically list what bases or facilities would be targeted for closing.
Washington state currently has 10 major Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine bases or facilities, including the Yakima Firing Center, McChord and Fairchild Air Force Bases, plus six major Navy and Marine facilities on the West side. There are at least 32,000 active duty military personnel residing in our state.